Chapter 1 Global Concerns: Mainly about the global consolidation of the beer industry and some of its attendant implications. He definitely questions the shedding of employees as companies consolidate and “rationalize”, but also will not denigrate the macros for being such and claims that it takes real skill to make such nuanced flavor at such scale consistently. He even questions his own complicitness in higher ed’s churning factory of graduating more people than there are (good) jobs for.
Chapter 2 The Not-So-Slow Death of a Beer Culture: This chapter is primarily about Margaret Thatcher and “The Beer Orders” (1988) aka The Supply of Beer: A Report on the Supply of Beer for Retail Sale in the United Kingdom” and its effect on the British beer industry and pub scene.
3 Barbican, Balls, and Beyond: Alcohol free beers, and the possibility of cultural imperialism.
4 On The Other Hand: The Rebirth of a Beer Ethos: The rise of craft breweries in America.
5 So What Is Quality?: What is a good beer?, the container, the foam, the clarity, the color, the flavor.
6 Despite the Odds: Anti-Alcohol Forces: Beer and religion and anti-alcohol forces throughout the ages.
7 Societal Issues: Extreme alcohol beers, and issues with overconsumption.
8 Looks Good, Tastes Good, and …: Beer and health.
9 Whither Brewing?: The future of brewing. Hops becoming increasingly valuable outside of brewing (115-6).
10 God in a Glass: A narrative description of the contents of your beer.
Conclusion: Back to anti-alcohol forces and a plea for tolerance.
Overall good but a mixed bag. I read the endnotes as they came up so that could have a big effect on one’s reading if read differently or, especially, if not read at all. There are 80 pages of endnotes for 137 pages of text and they contain a fair bit of content, to say the least. All in all, it is a fast read.
Bamforth, as he describes himself in this book, is a Buddhist-leaning Episcopalian, which makes for some interesting thoughts.
Recommended for general reading but get it from the library. I did get this in a Kindle edition but I read the hardcover I got from the public library because there is no way I would have read the end notes on the Kindle. It would have been a nightmare!
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